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Solaris - Marsbéli Krónikák (Martian Chronicles) CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.21 | 349 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars SOLARIS is a Hungarian symphonic prog band that just LOOOOVES sci-fi novels. Their name comes from the novel written by Stanisław Lem and the title of their debut album MARSBÉLI KRÓNIKÁK (THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES) comes from the famous book by Ray Bradbury. The music is almost all instrumental save an electronic vocal intro that isn't Martian at all but actually highly weirded out Hungarian. The theme of the album is supposed to highlight the plot of the novel where humans flee a trashed Earth and colonize Mars (OK not as creative as Kobaia but still pretty cool.) The band formed in Budapest in 1980 and went through many lineups before releasing this album. This is a strange album in the world of prog for it virtually has no strange time signatures and its focus is squarely on melodic development that sounds like a strange progressive form of 80s synth pop in a way. Although there are scant Eastern European sounds making their way into the mix I have to say that the sounds of the flute, guitar and keyboards make me think more of an album done by a band of the Andes such as Los Jaivas if they had upped their symphonic sound and made it a bit more aggressive.

Much of this album is highly exciting as track by track the unfolding melodies and dancing rhythms pulsate to simulate the colonizing theme and it works for the most part but for me it's the slow tracks that keep this from being a true masterpiece of all time. Those are the ones that make me think more of Peru or Bolivia than Mars. Mars after all has the connotation of being the alter persona of male aggressiveness and this music can cry out more of a feminine Venus at times. There are also times when this seriously reminds me of new agers like Yanni or Kitaro which also doesn't lend itself to the whole Mars thing. I find myself really enjoying much of this album but the slow parts let me down a bit and I feel a disconnect from the intended theme. On my 1995 CD edition with two bonus tracks it is the second of those "The Yellow Circle" that really feels like it was made for this album. It cranks up the guitar and percussion unlike on any other tracks on this album. Overall I dig this album but I feel it should have a bit more percussive oompf to the whole thing. As i'm writing this review it has been announced that the band is releasing a sequel to THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES which will be released in this here year 2014. I hope it kicks some serious Martian butt!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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